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WW Lessons

Page history last edited by Ms. Edwards 11 years ago

Writers Way

WW Powerful Writing

Goals/Standards/Rubric:  RICO: Refine, Invent, Connect, Own



Lessons for Writers Way Project



How do we as writers get from what we know to what we share?

Note: Lessons flow based on the introductory activities from our first two weeks of school.


Intro and Review


Getting To Know You

1. Create a notecard with: name; favorite candy/candy bar; favorite music/song/artist; birthday; favorite food; favorite pop; favorite board game; favorite card game (not poker); favorite subject; favorite free-time at-home activity; favorite meal for birthday; what expect to be doing at age 18 after graduation from high school Directions:

2. Meet others: find those with similar likes and obtain their initials beside the item

3. Form a group of 2, 3, or 4 of those with the most similar likes

4. Create a Venn Diagram to show what is similar and unique

5. Create a poster of pictures to show your group's similarities and differences (include in an organized design with color, a title, symbols of same/different, artistic signatures)

6. Each person write part of presentation of poster and symbols

7. Present

8. Reflect

BioPoem Directions and Example

BioPoem Template

BioPoem Revision 


Review of our past writing class lessons (last year)-- what makes good writing? Record traits.

Review my Bio Poem -- the revision and good writing. Discuss: What traits do the changes represent?

Revise own poem.


Circle one area from BioPoem and write about it in details.  


Bio/Memoir Writing Part 1


Whole Class:

Listen to others (See Resources) as they are read.-- identify powerful parts.

Point out words and/or details that are powerful. Record. 

Reflect: why are the words are powerful. Record the qualities of powerful words as well. (names/ verbs/ descriptions).

Discuss: Do you notice the difference between subject (what the essay is about) and tone (the author’s attitude toward the subject)? Record and summarize.



Discuss (Student Directions): What makes good writing? Can you identify powerful writing? What makes it powerful?  Get your notebooks, and let’s work together to read and discover what makes powerful writing.

Small Group:
In small groups, complete the following tasks with a story provided to you:

  • Roles:
    • Reader: Reads story.
    • All Else:
      • Listen
      • Write powerful phrases in notes
      • Be prepared to read final chosen phrase and tell why it is powerful
      • Be prepared to read summary of how writers write with power
  • Director:
      • Asks reader to start reading
      • Asks members to share powerful phrases and why
      • Asks other to comment in positive ways about the speaker's ideas
      • Asks for consensus on what makes that phrase powerful
      • Asks note-taker to write down the reason the phrase is powerful
      • Continues with each person
      • Discuss: After everyone has shared, choose the most powerful sentence of all those they have chosen. Decide why.
      • Asks group members to write a summary of how writers write powerfully
    • Note-taker:
      • Writes why phrases are powerful based on consensus of group from the discussion
      • Writes the best sentence chosen by the group
      • Writes the notes to explain your choice so the speaker can refer to the notes
    • Checker:
      • Checks notes for accuracy of discussion comments



Be prepared for the discussion with class. Use this information (your notes, the examples, the summary, the models you have read) to try your own story based on an item from your BioPoem or another idea.


See model handout about:

    • Prewrite ideas and details based on powerful writing strategies
    • Remember TAP: Topic, Audience, Purpose
    • Write a first draft-- consider description, verbs, traits, subject, and tone





Definition of Memoir: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson998/Definition.pdf

Memoir Rubric: What to include: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson998/rubric.pdf



Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir by Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little

Examples: John and The Snake; Hot Rolls; Chores; Sis Clara; Clothes; The Play; Watergate; My Best Friend; Farmwork

Hey World, Here I am! by  Jean Little

Examples: After English Class, Surprise, Mr. Entwhistle, Cartwheels, Wars, Clothes, Mosquitoes


When I Was Your Age edited by Amy Ehrlich

Example: Shrimp by Paul Fleischman


The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Examples: The House on Mango Street, My Name, Cathy Queen of Cats, Our Good Day, A Smart Cookie, Papa Who Wakes up Tired, Born Bad


Language of Literature, pages 106, 115


Memoir/Fiction Part 2

Continue memoir writing.

Grade 8 (Art/Craft with William Zinsser) and NPR's Drawing the Line Between Fact and Fiction

Other Resources:

Multiple Pasts    Writing Memoir With Love  RWT Lesson


Where do writers get ideas?  List.

Interview with Michael Banks.  Create idea lists (alphabet, events, timelines, event maps)

Words of Sandra Cisneros from The House on Mango Street, pages xxi-xxiv.



Beginning and Backs of books:

Where might the ideas have come from for these books?

After the Goatman

After the Rain



Part 3


Review what we have done in terms of RICO: Refine, Invent, Connect, Own

Adapted from RWT Lesson"Memories Matter"  Possible Rubric  Memoir Writing Information

Excerpt Chapter 10, "The Giver"

Importance of Memories  and Importance of Memory for Writers -- How do we move from what we know (experience and memories) to the story we share?  

Read Chapter 11

Analysis Template



  1. Read Chapter 11 of The Giver in class, complete handout together, modeling the understanding of how Lowry's descriptive choices function. 
  2. At the end of the session, give students time to choose their own experience to render through descriptive language. Remind them that language related to the various senses should be chosen appropriately; they need not refer to all five senses and may rely more heavily on one or two than the others. (Most common: sights/sounds)
  3. Ask students to convert their list into a paragraph for the next session. Their paragraph should not reveal the experience explicitly.
  4. Have students share some of their completed paragraphs. Classmates should try to determine what experience the author is trying to convey, as Jonas did in The Giver.  Peer Review Template

How do we move from what we know (experience and memories) to the story we share?  Review words of Sandra Cisneros from The House on Mango Street, pages xxi-xxiv.


Part 4

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